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The United States’ rapidly retiring workforce, sometimes called the “silver tsunami,” has the potential to seriously disrupt building department and construction operations across the country. With about 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, severe internal staffing shortages could make permit and inspection activity unmanageable.  But using workforce challenges as a chance to reevaluate your organization’s structure can actually present powerful opportunities to create some positive change in your department.

1 . Are You Using Technology Effectively?

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated advances in technology across nearly every industry – could you be automating manual tasks to improve efficiency for your entire department? Consider implementing cloud-based automation tools and online building department workflow systems such as CommunityCore to create a more streamlined process.

2. Are You Taking Advantage of Remote Opportunities?

Electronic plan reviews and remote virtual inspections reduce, and in some cases Eliminate, the need for workers to actually be on site, opening up a nationwide talent pool of specialists and industry experts that might be difficult to find in your backyard.

3. Are You Encouraging Online Continuing Education?

Building departments risk losing decades of expertise as workers retire, but online continuing education programs – more convenient to find and attend than their in-person counterparts – can help younger workers develop highly specialized skills and become more effective team members. The ICC’s Learning Center provides courses on a variety of industry topics, making it easy for employees to access the additional training they need.

4. Are You Investing in Mentorship Programs?

Consider the insight that comes with experience, not just formal education. Do you have mentoring programs in place to facilitate collaboration and knowledge-sharing between tenured employees and their younger colleagues? Lunch & learn sessions and ride-alongs in the field are two ways you can create opportunities to pass on some of the real-world experiences of more tenured employees.

5. Are You Looking for Alternative Support Solutions?

Replacing full-time employees with new full-time employees may be an inefficient, expensive solution for keeping your department running smoothly in the face of staffing shortages. Leveraging auxiliary staff helps to reduce costs while filling gaps in talent, knowledge, and resources left behind by retiring workers.

An outsourced building services provider can supplement your current team with experienced staff on a full-time, part-time, or as-needed basis, helping you keep high-value projects moving and enabling your department to deliver exceptional customer service.


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